Psychological States Underlying Excellent Performance in Sport: Toward an Integrated Model of Flow and Clutch States

Christian Swann, Lee Crust, Patricia Jackman, Stewart Vella, Mark Allen, Richard KEEGAN

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    This study investigated the psychological states underlying excellent performance in 26 athletes (Mage = 29 years, SD = 7.7) across a range of sports (team, net/wall, sprint, endurance, adventure) and standards (world class to recreational). Participants were primarily interviewed on average 4 days after excellent performances. The data were analyzed thematically. Distinct states of flow and clutch were reported, each of which occurred through separate contexts and processes, while athletes also transitioned between states during performance. These findings extend current knowledge of the psychology of excellent performance and are discussed in terms of implications for future research and applied practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)375-401
    Number of pages27
    JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2017


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